Houston Dynamo have made a significant move with their youth development set up as they announced on Wednesday that the Dynamo Under-23s will begin play this season.
The addition of the U-23 side plugs that final gap between the youth teams of the Dynamo Academy and the senior Houston Dynamo team and now provides a viable pathway for Houston youth players to the Dynamo MLS squad and the USMNT.
It will be a short season in their first year as they will only play through May to July, working the same schedule as a PDL team, although they will not be competing in that league.
The timing does allow Houston to attract college talent, but not competing in the PDL, like Chicago Fire’s U-23s do, will prove a barrier to attracting the best talent, as PDL is a long established pathway to MLS.
Instead of competing in the PDL the team will play in tournaments and friendlies throughout the summer months, with the Copa Alianza at Houston Sports Park on May 24-26 kicking things off before the US Men’s U-23 Cup in Pennsylvania on June 13-15, more tournaments and friendly opponents are to be announced later.
Director of youth development, James Clarkson, will be the head coach, with Edddie Robinson and Tom Harris acting as assistants, a role Robinson already holds under Clarkson as the assistant director.
Six players, formerly of the Dynamo Academy, have already joined the squad, all hailing from the Houston area, but currently studying at universities throughout the country.
The squad will be formed through trials and general scouting, with trials to be announced shortly, and the squad being formed up until kick-off in May.
With four of the six players already signed playing in midfield it’s clear that there will be plenty of spaces open to defenders, and even a couple of goal keepers with just one goalkeeper, Fernando Pina in the squad.